25 ways to serve corn on the cob

  • Article by: JANET K. KEELER , Tampa Bay Times
  • Updated: August 6, 2014 - 2:28 PM

Sure, a pat of butter is good. But there are a lot of corn days ahead of us. Expand your repertoire with 25 ways to serve it. No idea is too corny.

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Corn on the cob can be topped with many different things for parties. Some examples from left to right include: garlic and Old Bay seasoning; Tuscan blend of rosemary and sun-dried tomato; Jamaican sweet corn rolled in coconut, and Oaxacan-style with queso fresco.

Photo: SCOTT KEELER • Tampa Bay Times,

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There may not be any other food that screams summer more than corn on the cob.

It goes with everything — burgers, steaks, chicken, hot dogs — plus it doesn’t require utensils, unless you count those cute cob holders. I simply use my hands and just have extra napkins at the ready. Toothpicks, too. It could also be the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal, piled high with grated cheeses.

Corn can be boiled, roasted or grilled, thus adding to its list of versatile personality traits, and that includes how well it meshes with other flavors.

Butter, salt and pepper have long been the most common way to dress up corn on the cob, though many of us like it without any adornment, especially when it is super sweet. But if you think of all the ways we eat corn — in chowders, salads, vegetable medleys and blends and baked goods — you realize how well it pairs with both savory and sweet.

Our list of 25 ways to adorn corn on the cob proves that point. It’s a global survey of flavors that celebrates America’s melting pot.

The toppings should cover 8 ears of corn and are good candidates for experimentation.

Oaxacan-style: Combine 3 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco with 2 tablespoons chili powder, ½ cup sour cream, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper. Stir in juice of 1 lime. After the corn is cooked, dollop with mixture and serve with more crumbled cheese on top.

Maple-mustard: Brush olive oil on corn (after, if boiling; before, if grilling). While cooking, combine ¼ cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and a pinch of allspice. Spread mixture on hot cooked corn.

Barbecue glazed: Brush corn with olive oil and grill. Meanwhile, combine ¼ cup barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion, 2 tablespoons honey and ¼ teaspoon coarse salt. Baste corn with mixture during last 3 minutes of grilling.

Olive oil, garlic and Parmesan: In a small bowl, combine 2 grated garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Baste hot, cooked corn with mixture and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Chiles and lime: Cut corn into 3- to 4-inch lengths and cook. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix half a stick of melted butter plus 2 tablespoons each mayonnaise, sour cream and lime juice, and 2 teaspoons chili powder and ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste. When corn is cooked, toss in mixture. Garnish with lime zest.

Curry and pistachios: Stir 2 tablespoons curry powder into 1 stick of hot melted butter. Drizzle on cooked corn and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Tuscan blend: Mix 2 tablespoons of dried Italian herbs with 1 stick of softened butter. Let sit for at least 30 minutes so that the dried herbs rehydrate. Spread over cooked corn.

Basil and tomato: Seed 2 ripe tomatoes and grate, then drain. Discard as much liquid as possible. Mix tomato pulp with 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese plus 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh basil. Season with salt and spread on cooked corn.

Cilantro and sesame: Mix 1 stick softened butter with 2 teaspoons each toasted sesame seeds and chopped fresh cilantro. Spread on corn and sprinkle with more sesame seeds and kosher salt.

Tarragon and lime: Mix 1 stick softened butter with 2 to 3 tablespoons of minced fresh tarragon and the zest of 1 large lime. Spread on hot cooked corn.

Bacon and Cheddar: Spread mayonnaise on warm corn. Roll in grated Cheddar and top with crumbled cooked bacon.

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